Fluxing your melt

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by AJC1, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Member

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    Dumping anything with moisture in it including water on top of your lead melt will cause some sizzling, popping and maybe a little steam but nothing bad. Now if you stir the moisture laden material into the melt before all the moisture has been cooked out of the item you will probably get some lead splatter. At 700 degrees water dances on top of the lead.
     
  2. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Member

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    Not everyone has pine needles laying on the ground in there back yard, Maple leaves yes pine needles no.
     
  3. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    I have 20-30 Tea candles.
    I use this on fairly clean wheel weights.
     
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  4. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I usually take some heat for posting this, but my experience has been that water on top of lead is harmless. It just sizzles and dances. Water underneath your lead is a recipe for excitement, but the folks who claim to have experienced "explosions" from a drop of water falling into the pot are, well, experiencing a different reality from mine.
     
  5. Jack Ryan

    Jack Ryan Member

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    Probably going to have to go to the reloading store and buy some single purpose fluxing compound then if you are this far in to this thread and still looking for reasons to not do ANY OF the things listed here that darn near EVERYONE else is doing. Probably for the best any way.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    True, water/moisture on top of lead is no big deal, but stir it under, or let a weight take it under, have it on the ladle, etc, and the consequences can be so bad you don't want to play around with it. Dry everything very carefully before using. Y'all be careful out there. Google exploded lead pot. :)
     
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  7. whughett

    whughett Member

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    In the telephone industry we melted lead and cast it into plates called disks. Two inches thick and as large in diameter up to 20 inches. Hole were created by placing plugs on the plate within the rings. These were used to join several lead sheathed comm cables together to form an air tight container for splices. We never fluxed just skimmed the dross from the top of the pot until the melt was clean. I stock piled large quantities of this lead and use it today for bullets and balls. Of course those small, large and very large plates weren’t tiny bullets with intricate shapes so matters of filling out the mold and controlled shrinkage hardly mattered. Every cable splicers truck had a complete furnace, shield, pot and disk set along with a 35 pound propane tank, hose and regulator as part of its tool inventory. Sadly those days are mostly gone. Plastic rules the day now.
    Today I use commercial fluxing sold by several out lets. A one pound container lasts for years as a small amount is used. I cast in my basement work shop under a hood but still don’t want to deal with the smoke and flare up of the various materials used.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
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  8. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I think the commercial flux is Rosin, may be wrong. I've used rosin and it works but does gives off some smoke.
     
  9. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    I should have been more specific. It's the dirt in the lead that smokes (that's why you're fluxing) Beeswax itself burns very clean. But what do I know... I don't buy it, I just use what my bees have been giving me. Hobby Lobby gets what they sell to you from people like me.
     
  10. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm member

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    Beeswax does burn very clean. But put beeswax on top of hot lead and it's going to smoke till you ignite it.
     
  11. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    That was a long time ago. Even copper is antiquated. In my area most of the reachable lead cable has been removed. It's a good thing I managed to save a few hundred pounds of it.
    I use a soldering pot anf shield as my primary melting/fluxing pot.
     
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  12. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    I'll have to talk to my bees. They must be doing it wrong. Or I am.
     
  13. whughett

    whughett Member

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    I use a fair amount of bees wax, pricy dang stuff, mixed with crisco for lube. I do use bees wax and what ever out side for the primary range lead melt. It does smoke a bit. I use the commercial stuff for finial melt. Never knew about the removes Tin aspect however.
    Been retired 23 years. Nothings the same anymore, big metro areas it’s all fiber optics. Most guys doing what I did have been retired or moved into other techs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  14. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Member

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    Think you need to re read the thread or look at user names with posts. Your quoting my posts but I'm not the OP and posted what I use for fluxing. So if your going to post a message with derogatory under tones at least practice some reading comprehension and pick on the right individual though no one ever said anything about not using the methods already posted. All I said is not everyone has pine needles in there yard to pickup.
     
  15. horseman1

    horseman1 Member

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    This is what works for me, but there are some ideas on here I need to try. I go have a lot of pine needles.....

    When making ingots from my range scrap, I reach into the (turned off!) table saw and grab a handful of sawdust. If I need to flux the casting pot (rare), I use a little bit of old candle stubbies I've saved. Got in trouble once for using one of the wife's pumpkin scented ones that wasn't scrap I guess :). Seems to work OK for me. The candle wax appears to put the tin and antimony oxides back into solution and doesn't create as much crud to skim off. Better for the casting pot. I think a lot of things work as seen here in this thread.
     
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  16. Crosshair

    Crosshair Member

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    Ha. Same sort of thing here. Just toss in whatever will burn without making a mess.

    When smelting, all the oil and grease on the wheel weights does a good enough job to not need anything added.
     
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  17. 2011redrider

    2011redrider Member

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    Go to Lowes or Home Depot and they have plenty of saw dust from the panel saw. Took about 6 months of trying but I got a trashcan full of saw dust that will last a lifetime and sharing w casting friends. When I was out I used pine shavings from Walmart in the pet section. Its very compressed so it made about a 5 gal bucket when opened, just takes a bit longer to burn than the saw dust.
     
  18. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Do you suppose mesquite beans would work as a substitute? I have lots of mesquites but no pines.

    I have used bee's wax to lube the sprue plate pivots on my molds for years and it's easy to just scrape a little wax off the cake to flux with. It works so well I haven't considered looking for any other method. It does smoke. Maybe it depends on the breed of bee that makes the wax.
     
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  19. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm member

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    The problem with this is they also cut a lot of MDF, that dust contains compounds that are dangerous to the lungs.

    Anyone with a table/chop saw can create their own sawdust in a few minutes. Just take a 2x4 and do blade width cuts.
     
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  20. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    I will add, the finer cutting blade, the finer the dust. A cross cut vs. a rip cut blade. To me, the finer dust seems more efficient and sits in the pot better than the course chips.
     
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